NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2024
The Panthers gain ground on the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins, another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, and much more from a busy Saturday in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers moved to within three points of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 4-0. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 35-save shutout performance, Sam Reinhart scored his 39th goal of the season, and team captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists for the 33-15-4 Panthers, who sit second in the conference with 70 points. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 39 shots for the Avalanche (32-17-4) as they’re winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and remain in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart sits second among NHL goal scorers this season and leads the league with 22 power-play goals. He also recently broke the club record for most power-play goals in a season (19) originally held by Scott Mellanby and Pavel Bure. Meanwhile, the Avalanche held a players-only meeting following this game to address their struggles and lack of preparedness since the All-Star break.
Speaking of the Bruins, they were shut out 3-0 by the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin scored for the fourth straight game with his 57th career empty-net goal, surpassing the record of 56 previously held by Wayne Gretzky. Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie each had two points while Charlie Lindgren made 18 saves for the 23-20-7 Capitals. Jeremy Swayman turned aside 25 shots for the 32-11-9 Bruins, who missed an opportunity to move ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the overall standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has struggled to score in 2023-24 but is on a bit of a tear since the All-Star break. He now has 12 goals on the season and 834 for his career putting him 70 behind Gretzky’s record of 894.
The Canucks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings. Jake Walman tallied the winner in overtime on a penalty shot as the Wings (27-18-6) overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by Daniel Sprong and Michael Rasmussen. They hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 60 points. Elias Pettersson and former Red Wing Filip Hronek each had a goal and two assists for the 34-12-6 Canucks as they hold first overall with 74 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick Kane collected an assist in his return to the Wings lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Wings forward Lucas Raymond, who left the game for assessment but would return to action.
Calgary Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar scored his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 35 shots while Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (25-22-5) as they sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 55 points. Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau replied for the 22-18-12 Islanders (56 points) as they sit four points back of the Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar became the seventh defenseman in Flames history to score a hat trick. He also takes over the lead among NHL defensemen in goals this season with 15. Islanders blueliner Alexander Romanov missed this game with a lower-body injury.
The Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists while Nikita Zadorov collected two assists for the 28-20-5 Lightning as they vaulted over the Toronto Maple Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. Boone Jenner netted both goals for the 16-25-10 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 89 points, Kucherov has opened a four-point lead in the NHL scoring race over Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon. Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game with an upper-body injury.
Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they fell 5-3 to the Ottawa Senators, who picked up their third straight win. Shane Pinto led the way with a goal and two assists while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 shots for the 21-25-2 Senators. Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 42nd goal of the season for the Leafs (26-16-8) as they dropped into the first Eastern wild-card berth with 60 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly could face supplemental discipline as he took exception with Ridley Grieg’s slapshot into an empty net in the dying seconds and cross-checked the young Senators forward in the head. Meanwhile, Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano and Senators blueliner Jake Sanderson missed this game with injuries. There’s no timetable yet for when either player will return to action.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s 35 saves backstopped his club to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Scheifele and Nino Niederreiter scored for the 31-14-5 Jets (67 points) as they snapped a five-game winless skid and sit one behind the second-place Avalanche in the Central Division. Bryan Rust replied for the Penguins (23-19-7).
The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in their first game under interim head coach Jim Hiller. David Rittich turned in a 26-save shutout while Quinton Byfield scored two goals and picked up an assist for the 24-15-10 Kings, who hold the first Western wild-card berth with 58 points. Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots for the Oilers (30-17-1) as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 61 points.
An overtime goal by Sebastian Aho gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Pyotr Kochetkov made 34 saves for the shutout as the Hurricanes improved to 30-16-5 and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points. Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots for the 25-21-4 Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes welcomed back winger Andrei Svechnikov from his six-game absence with an upper-body injury. However, backup goaltender Antti Raanta missed this game with a lower-body injury and is expected to remain sidelined for the next two weeks.
Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin scored twice as his club nipped the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matt Duchene and Mason Marchment each collected two assists for the 32-14-6 Stars, who’ve won 10 of their last 14 and moved into first place in the Central Division with 70 points. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist while Sam Montembeault turned aside 35 shots for the 21-22-8 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard left this game early in the second period with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated over the next couple of days to determine the severity of the injury.
The St. Louis Blues got two goals by Jake Neighbours in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, picking up their sixth victory in their last seven games. Joel Hofer made 33 saves for the 27-21-2 Blues as they hold the final Western wild-card berth with 56 points. Kyle Okposo replied for the 22-25-4 Sabres.
Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier snapped a 2-2 tie to defeat the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Cal Petersen made 17 saves in his first start since Nov. 11 for the Flyers (28-19-6) as they picked up t their third straight win and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points. Tomas Tatar and Jared McCann replied for the 21-20-10 Kraken (52 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz missed this game for personal reasons but is expected to rejoin his teammates later this week.
An overtime goal by Ryan McDonagh lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes. McDonagh, Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, Filip Forsberg and Tommy Novak each had a goal and an assist for the 27-23-2 Predators (56 points) as they remain behind the Blues for the final Western wild-card berth with the latter holding two games in hand. Jason Zucker collected three assists for the Coyotes (23-23-4) as they’re winless in their last five games (0-4-1).